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House Paint for Wood Windows

Answered by Jeffrey ~ April 29, 2010 ~ Comments

We are revamping our 1929 home in Long Beach, California. We have made the investment and commitment to using wood windows throughout our home. The problem has been that the house paint chips off the wood windows so quickly. Is there a good house paint that won't chip? I am willing to pay top dollar to avoid touching up all the time.

Denny C. ~ Long Beach, California

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Denny, Wood windows can pose a challenge for house paint. They have a smooth tight grained surface that paint can have a tough time sticking to, and they often have people opening and closing them which can be tough on the durability of paint. An added detriment to the paint would be the sea moisture and salt that I would think exists in Long Beach, California.

My suggestion would be to use a good adhesion or bonding primer as a first coat. Make sure the windows are completely clean and dry prior to priming them. If the wood grain of the windows is extremely tight, it wouldn't hurt to take a piece of extra fine sandpaper and lightly sand the windows to make them more receptive to paint.

The second, and third coat if it needs it, should be a semi-gloss or high-gloss paint. They dry very hard and are easy to clean fingerprints off of. Just about every paint manufacturer has different grades of paint, and there really is a difference in quality between them. Wood windows in an old house should have one of the higher end paints that the manufacturer you choose offers.

Speaking of paint manufacturers, it would not hurt to do a little bit of research to see what are the highest rated paints for interior trim. I used one brand of paint for many years because it was what my painting contractors used. I happened to read an independent ratings report on the different paint brands, and decided to try out the highest rated paint on my home. I couldn't believe the difference in appearance and durability. It's the only paint brand I use now.

If the wood windows you have chosen can be easily removed from the frames for cleaning, I would take the windows out to paint them. When you paint the windows in the frames they can sometimes chip the first time you move them unless you are very careful. Do not put the windows back in the frames until the paint is completely dry. Tacky paint will stick to a frame or another sash very easily.

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